Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Teaching English in Beijing

Well, I now have 2 weeks of teaching under my belt! The problem is, it was with some of the brightest minds in China. Our introductory training was at Peking University, where we taught an English summer camp. The students were some of the top notch of China for thier ages, and many were the childern of professors and diplomats. My class was Junior 2's, which is equivalent to American 7th and 8th grade.

About half of my class!  The girls all sit on one side and the boys on the other.

My first day of teaching was August 4th, and I was really, really nervous. Overall it went really well, and I got a lot of confidence because of that. My lesson plan for the first week built off of itself, with each day being about a new topic. Day one was about friends, two about family, three about careers, four about celebrities, and five about going to the hospital.
Jack, one of my 20 students.  Another Jack sat right next to him, so instead of making a name tag he just drew an arrow pointing to the other Jack.

The kids are fairly well behaved, but you have to lay out rules and consequences straight off the bat, or they will walk all over you. Each kid has an English name that they are allowed to choose, and some of them are quite strange. We had a kid named "Lucky," and a girl who's name was "Diana Fish". They can choose whatever name they want, so even if they choose "Milkcow" you have to call them that. Here are some funny stories I have had so far.

- When asking about different celebrities/famous people, Lucky told me "Confucius is the Chinese Jesus."

- This one was my fault. During the "family" lesson, I excitedly asked the class "Ok kids, who has siblings!?" I kind of forgot about China's One Child Policy. All twenty of thier little faces stared at me with the most blank confused expression I have ever seen.

- I was teaching them past tense verbs, and had chair and whatever they wrote on the board I would do with the chair and have them tell me what happened in the past tense. One of our particularly smart girls, Fiona, wrote "eat the chair." When I bit it, the class rioted. Chinese teachers re very strict and rigorous, and foreign teacher English is seen a the fun class.

- While talking about the hospital, I had the kids act out a doctor patient visit in pairs. One was doctor, and one patient, and they were to discus an emergency room visit. The dialogue between Gary and Jm went like th is

:Gary (doctor): Well hello sir, how are you today?

:Jim(patient): Ughhhh I dont feel so good....

:Gary: There is nothing I can do to help you. (pulls penn out of pocket) This is a knife. Just kill yourself.

:Jim: (Jabs penn into chest and dies horrible death on the floor)


  1. Haha my favorite is you asking them who has siblings... that's something I would've definitely done. This may be a stupid question but they are still implementing the one child policy now, right?

  2. Haha! I agree with Cheryl, that comment is hilarious. Sounds like teaching will be a lot of fun.